MINNEAPOLIS - Can a lifelong commitment to health begin in elementary school?
Lafayette Charter School is one of 10 elementary schools in Minnesota and western Wisconsin communities that have the opportunity to answer that question as they participate in a novel partnership with Allina Health. Lafayette Charter School has been selected as a School Health ConnectionTM site for the 2012-13 school year, which includes a $10,000 grant to promote healthy activities.
"We are very excited that we have been chosen as recipients of this grant. We hope to utilize this in such a way that it benefits not only our school and our students but also the community," said Andrea Harder, Lafayette Charter School principal. "Lafayette doesn't have many facilities where people can go to for exercise and such. We want to create an 'excersite' - a cluster of fitness stations much like the track at Nehls Park in New Ulm, but this one would be geared more toward children."
(From left to right) Skye Koch of Allina, Carissa Buelger of Allina and Andrea Harder, lead teacher from Lafayette Charter School, pose with an enlarged check representing a $10,000 grant to the school as a School Health ConnectionTM site for 2012-13.
School Health ConnectionTM will provide Lafayette Charter School with direct access to Allina Health caregivers, including a consulting physician from a nearby Allina Health clinic who will help school staff respond to health issues affecting their school. The program will also provide online learning tools, teacher training and a health fair for the entire school community that will be based at Lafayette Charter School.
This event will also include health screenings for teachers and parents as a means to model healthy behavior for children.
"Building a culture of good health is an important part of our mission, and getting our young people engaged early is crucial to that endeavor," said Kenneth H. Paulus, president and CEO of Allina Health. "The partnership of neighborhood caregivers with local schools is long overdue. We have some serious work to do to turn back the growing tide of obesity in our communities, and time is of the essence."